2021 Grenfell English Winter Lecture and Reading Series

The Grenfell Campus Department of English is pleased to announce the 2021 slate of lecturers for its lecture and reading series. 

Leading up to each author’s reading, panels of Grenfell faculty and students will discuss the works of these distinguished writers. A full schedule of Grenfell panels and lecturer’s talks follows below. 

The first featured author, on Feb. 3, will be Irene Oore, author of The Listener (2019). According to the synopsis, “in The Listener, a daughter receives a troubling gift: her mother’s stories of surviving World War II in Poland.  During the Holocaust, Irene Oore’s mother escaped the death camps by concealing her Jewish identity.  Instead, those years found her constantly on the run and on the verge of starvation, living a harrowing and peripatetic existence as she struggled to keep herself and her family alive. Throughout the book, Oore reveals a certain ambivalence towards the gift bestowed upon her. The stories of fear, love, and constant hunger traumatised her as a child. Now, she shares these same stories with her own children, to keep the history alive.”

On Feb. 17, the featured author will be Souvankham Thammavongsa, who won the 2020 Giller Prize for her book of short stories How to Pronounce Knife (2020). The book is described as “a revelatory book of fiction (that) establishes her as an essential new voice in Canadian and world literature. Told with compassion and wry humour, these stories honour characters struggling to find their bearings far from home, even as they do the necessary ‘grunt work of the world’.” 

On March 5, Maria Reva will be the final author to read, corresponding with the opening night of the Atlantic English Undergraduate Conference. She is the author of Good Citizens Need Not Fear (2020), which is described as taking the reader from “paranoia to tenderness and back again, exploring what it is to be an individual amid the roiling forces of history. Inspired by her family’s own experiences in Ukraine, Reva brings the dark absurdity of early Gary Shteyngart, the empathy of Miriam Toews, and the sly interconnectedness of Anthony Marra’s The Tsar of Love and Techno to a sparkling work of fiction that is as clever as it is heartfelt.”  

After each event there will be an informal online social to continue the relevant discussion or just hang out and have fun with other people who love literature and talking. Participants are invited to stick around to see friends or make new ones and share a toast with a virtual glass of wine or coffee. 

To receive connection information, visit https://grenfell.mun.ca/academics-and-research/Pages/school-of-arts-and-social-science/programs/english/english-lecture-series.aspx.  

Here is the full schedule of authors and Grenfell contributors: 

Feb. 1, 1-4 p.m. NST  

Public lectures on Irene Oore’s The Listener and other Holocaust literature and history by Dr. Adam Beardsworth, Dr. Bonnie White, Dr. Shoshannah Ganz and a student panel (student names and lecture titles tba). 

Feb. 3, 3:30-4:30 p.m., NST 

Lecture and reading by Irene Oore, author of The Listener (2019). 

Feb. 15, 1:30-3:30 p.m., NST 

Lectures by Dr. Tom Halford, Dr. Shoshannah Ganz, and a student panel on Souvankham Thammavongsa’s How to Pronounce Knife (2020). Student names and lecture titles tba. 

Feb. 17, 3:30-4:30 p.m., NST 

Reading by Souvankham Thammavongsa, winner of the 2020 Giller Prize for How to Pronounce Knife (2020). 

March 3, 1:30-3:30 p.m., NST 

Lecture by Dr. Shoshannah Ganz on “The Canadian Short Story Cycle, Dark Tourism, and Maria Reva’s Good Citizens Need Not Fear (2020),”and a student panel on select stories from the collection (individual student names and paper titles tba). 

March 5, 7:30-8:30 p.m., NST 

Reading by Maria Reva, author of Good Citizens Need Not Fear (2020) – this reading will correspond with the opening night of the Atlantic English Undergraduate Conference. 

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